I hear people say all the time that they love the 1911. And they may even own one or two, but they would never carry one for their every day carry gun because it’s just not a reliable platform. Now, this isn’t my experience. My experience has led me to believe that people who say 1911s are unreliable, or that the design is outdated, probably are either just not that bright in the first place or have watched the youtubes too much. But this really isn’t about 1911 reliability. This is about your EDC gun and whether it’s really reliable or not . . .
I carry an aluminum-framed STI Duty One 4″ as my every day carry. I have many thousands of rounds through this gun. This is the third 1911 I’ve used as my EDC, but my first sub-5″ pistol and my first aluminum-framed gun. I trust this gun. But why? I mean, what is the bar for reliability, and has this gun really achieved it? Have I ever really put it to the test?
So when I saw last week that LaRue Tactical had run 1,000 rounds through one of their rifles, suppressed, without a single clean or lube anywhere in the string, and listened to people talk about how that is what reliable is, I took up the challenge.
I shot 2,000 rounds of .45ACP through my EDC. 1,000 of those were my own LSWC hand loads, another 500 FMJ hand loads, and another 500 were mostly Winchester white box FMJ’s and some CorBon FMJs. The gun was cleaned and lubed with RemOil when I started. During the entire string, it was never cleaned or lubed again. 2,000 rounds. All doing Mozambique drills for speed at 10 and 25 yards.
Not a single malfunction of any kind. I did have to tighten the grip screws once since they felt a little jiggly. They are new grips. But no failures to feed. No failures to eject. Zero issues. A bullet came out every single time I pulled the trigger until the slide locked back, hungry for more. The gun shot 3-inch groups at 25 yards when I was done. And it probably would have shot better if my right hand wasn’t bruised to hell by then. The lightweight gun with 2,000 major loads shows it’s added recoil after that many rounds.
But I got my answer; bar set, bar friggin met.
I sent photos of the shooting and some of the aftermath to a friend and he immediately sent me pictures of his 3″ Wilson .45ACP X-Tac (speed chute, so many upgrades, reverse crown flush tactical cone barrel none the less) with a first round failure to feed. I told him to bring it over and I’d put it to the test.
There were Winchester PDX1 rounds in the magazine, so I locked the slide back, inserted the magazine, and…yup, failure to feed. Tapping the back of the slide with my palm chambered the round. I took a look in the gun and immediately texted the owner. It was filthy. Like, it turns out the barrel isn’t Cerakoted black after all filthy. So I RemOiled it until it dripped a black oily substance that I last saw somewhere in the Lord of the Rings movies. Then I pretty much ruined a bore snake passing through it. The bore snake is probably ok, but I just felt like it was “unclean” after that. I toweled the gun off, then burned the towel.
But it shot. Man, it shot. It shot 600 rounds of hand load LSWC and Winchester white box FMJ’s through it about as fast as I could reload and pull the trigger. No additional lube, no cleaning. It ran like a champ. I have to say it, and it breaks my heart to do so, it shot smaller groups, and faster, than my STI (even if the 3″ steel Wilson is noticeably heavier than the 4″ aluminum STI).
Six hundred rounds. Then 15 rounds of Winchester PDX1. But on the 616th round, the weapons suffered a failure to feed. No love tap on the slide would fix this one.
After dropping the mag and clearing the round, but without cleaning or lube, it ran another 40 rounds of Winchester PDX1 without issue. And then I was out of ammo. To the solvent bath, Batman!
Is the STI a reliable EDC? Yes. Anyone who argues otherwise is a fool. But is the Wilson above a reliable EDC? I say yes. I would feel very confident with that gun. But would you? And if not, where do you set your bar for reliability? Have you taken your own EDC over that bar?